Wiring Basement Light Fixtures
I wired my basement so all the lights operate from one switch but the switch does not operate the lights and the lights just stay on. What did I do wrong? Installing Basement Electrical Wiring for Lights and a Switch.
Troubleshooting Basement Light Fixture Wiring
Electrical Question: I wired my basement so all the lights operate from one switch but the switch does not operate the lights and the lights just stay on. What did I do wrong?
- I ran 12-2 Type-NM Cable which replaced the old wiring that was 14 AWG.
- The breaker is 20 amp which was installed by the previous owner.
- There is a 14-3 cable that comes from the breaker box into a junction box.
- I have installed the wiring from the switch, and from the rest of the lights, and the three cables come into one junction box.
- After I wired the lamp holders into place I turned the breaker back on.
- The lights come on but the switch does not operate the lights, the lights just stay on. I have tried many different wiring combinations, some that caused a short circuit which tripped the breaker.
- I have capped off the red wire that comes from the breaker box but maybe I should not have?
- I am out of ideas and need some help. I am very interested in becoming an electrician apprentice, but this road block has zapped some of my enthusiasm because this seemed like a simple project.
Can you help?
This electrical wiring question came from: Jeff, from Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Additional Comments: It is nice to have a place to come to for answers. Thank you for creating this resource.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Jeff.
Installing Basement Wiring for Lights and a Switch
Application: Electrical Wiring for Basement Lights and a Switch.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits, Extension Cords, and a Ladder as needed.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the basement wiring project and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the new wiring should be identified, turned OFF and Tagged.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring in the basement should always be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
How to Avoid Mistakes when Installing Basement Electrical Wiring
- Wiring from a Junction Box
- As described in this question, there is a 14/3 cable that comes from the panel to a junction box for this circuit and that it is on a 20 amp circuit breaker and this is incorrect.
- The circuit should be 15 amp, not 20.
- Because the existing circuit wiring is #14 gauge then the remainder of the circuit wiring should all be #14 gauge.
- Installing The Right Wire Size
- There is no benefit from increasing the circuit wire size.
- In fact #12 AWG wire is harder to work with especially when installing switches that are rated for 15 amps.
- Problems with Light Fixture Wiring
- The size of the circuit wiring has nothing to do with this electrical problem, however the problem is with the wiring connections.
- Please review the following information and wiring diagrams for switches:
NOTE: It is nice to hear that you are interested in becoming an electrician. Consider learning the principles of electricity, the fundamental methods of circuit wiring, and most of all the application of the National Electrical Code.
More about Wiring a Basement
Basement Electrical Wiring
Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Basement Electrical Wiring with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.
Home Electrical Circuit Breakers
A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.
Electrical Wire for the Home
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
Home Wiring Projects
Installing electrical wiring projects for safety and home improvements.
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
|More articles about Electrical Wiring, Wiring Switches and Home Electrical Wiring:|
|« Previous||Next »|
|How to Repair Damaged Electrical Wires||How to add a 4Way Switch|